Don’t Panic, Practice

If you are approaching graduation or you have already graduated and you are experiencing a severe case of panic as you face the prospect of finding a job, take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. This is actually a fairly common experience for most college graduates. Rather than dwell on your concerns, it is much better and more productive to spend the time converting your fear into positive action that will increase your chances of landing a great job. Get started with these critical activities.

Focus on expanding your industry specific skills. Many college students make ends meet while looking for their first professional position by working a part-time job. That is great, but do not overlook the opportunity to volunteer for different projects or even request additional responsibility at your current position. Even if the job you currently hold is not exactly in the same field in which you are looking, consider ways in which you can develop skills that are specific to the field in which you ultimately hope to find a job. For example, if your degree is in marketing, volunteer to research marketing strategies at your current position. Your current employer will likely appreciate the initiative and the experience will provide you with real world industry specific skills that you can use as you look for a permanent position within your field. Taking advantage of the opportunity to build your resume and your skills as you look for a job rather than waiting for the phone to ring will pay off in valuable professional dividends.

In addition, spend some time identifying as well as marketing skills that are transferable. Many students make the mistake of believing that just because their previous experience has not been within the same field that they do not have relevant work skills and experience. This is not so. It really does not matter whether your degree is in liberal arts or biology; you have gained some great skills throughout college, including communicating, critical thinking and problem solving. When you stop to give some thought to your activities throughout college as well as through part-time work and volunteer projects, it will become clear that you have picked up some great transferable skills that will look right at home on your resume.

It is also a good idea to spend some time practicing your interviewing skills while you are looking for a job as well. Even if you have a great GPA, a wonderful resume and impeccable references, they will not get you very far if you are not able to present yourself effectively in an interview. If you have gone for several interviews but still have not received a call back, it can definitely be worth it to spend some time practicing your interview skills.